We saw hordes of plain-looking, white plastic bodied Android phones this year, especially from Indian manufacturers (and Samsung), but 2013 has also been a year of wearables and some of the most fantastic looking everyday devices. So naturally, we have our fair share of examples of devices that marry gorgeous industrial design with functionality. Here are our picks.
HTC One is a beauty
From the moment, the HTC One went official, it raised the benchmark of what a smartphone should look like. No other smartphone matched the finesse and the attention to detail that we saw in the One. From the chamfered edges on the aluminium unibody, to the meticulously-cut speaker grilles, to the ‘blink and you miss it’ LED notification above the display, and the minimalist back panel, the HTC One looked like no other phone this year. Not even the iPhone 5s, which was more of an evolution of the iPhone 5 design, could match HTC’s handiwork.
Same stellar design continued
Macbook Air (mid-2013)
If there ever is an uncontested run in the technology world, this is it. The 2013 Macbook Air is more of the same from Apple, but we are not complaining. After all, it’s hard to surpass the already-stellar design of the first ever 2010 Macbook Air, a design which nearly every Windows OEM has tried to ape (with varying degrees of success). This year, the exterior remains the same with bigger changes internally, specifically to the processor and battery life. Yet, it feels a world apart from any other notebook we have used and seen this year.
Retro look, modern camera
Want to look the part for that Mad Men-themed party? Carry an X100S and no one can call you out for not being authentic. But it’s not just about the cosmetic effect, this is one tough camera with great image quality. The top is made out of die-cast magnesium with large dials that mimic old-school Leicas. The base has polyurethane inserts to provide extra grip when handling or mis-handling. And of course, the faux-leather look does help keep things very 1960s.
Mind-boggling interior of the Mac Pro
Yet another Apple product, but this is a first even for Cupertino. It looks like a miniaturised punching bag, but packs a whole lot punch in terms of performance. Apple redesigned the entire chassis and looked to the interior to come up with this unique design. The new Mac Pro is designed around a thermal core that pulls air from the bottom to the top of the machine, to keep the ultra-powerful components cool. The exterior uses an aluminium slug, which is punched into shape by machines to get that cylindrical shape. Machines then cut holes for the I/O and also chamfer the edges of the top. The whole body is then polished, anodized black and given a glossy shine. The result is stunning PC that’s amazingly only 9-inches tall.
That's a computer on your brow
Glass is arguably the most-publicised beta product in history, seeing as it is still a developer-only affair. With a completely unique design, Glass combines cyborg fashion sense with modern design. Its biggest accomplishment is that for a computer sitting on your brow, it’s a very good looking device, while being completely unintrusive. Have you seen some of the other clunky HUD devices out there?
A clean-looking smartwatch that doesn't aim for too much
Sony Smartwatch 2
Sony’s effort is the cleanest looking smartwatch we saw this year, especially when compared to the other much-publicised smartwatch, the Samsung Galaxy Gear. With rounded edges and the trademark Sony power button, the Smartwatch 2 is not clunky, and makes a plain first impression, which is a good thing for a smartwatch. It doesn’t look intrusive, is waterproof and the strap can be changed to suit your mood.
Which devices would you pick to fit in this list? Let us know.